This week – it’s all about being FUNNY… I know I’m not very funny.  Maybe I can be clever sometimes – maybe. But I would like to be funnier.  And I love comedy!  Let’s do this!

FUNNY TALK with stand-up comedian & business school professor Hillary Anger Elfenbein

So in this podcast episode, we learn some techniques to help us “be funny.”  (Yes, it can be learned!)

We also hear some advice and war-stories from a bona-fide stand-up comedian, Professor Hillary Anger Elfenbein.

  • Yes, PROFESSOR.  She is a fully tenured-business school professor!
  • Yes, ANGER is her real last name. Her maiden name, actually. That’s kind of funny, don’t you think?
  • And yes, she tells dirty jokes….

Amongst other things you will learn in this podcast:

1.)PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT – Most comedians were not born funny.  They had to work very hard. And – confidence comes with practice.  Whether you dream of stand-up or just want to be funnier in general, you will get better if you practice! Hillary said she even had it scripted down to the syllable

2.)HECKLERS – I loved what Hillary said about hecklers. She says don’t worry about trying to win over the heckler.  Rather — try to win over the rest of the audience! Of course! (And this goes for stand-up hecklers, obstinate students in the classroom, and even rude colleagues!)


  • Keep it personal – joke about what you know, even if it’s foreign to the audience.  Just ensure you provide relevant context.
  • The 1-2-Punch – Say one thing.  Then you say another.  Then you say something ridiculous.  Or put another way, instead of 1-2-punch, it’s Normal–normal–funny. Comedians do this all the time.
  • Call-Backs – Also known as circling back.  When you’re in a conversation, relate back to something that someone said earlier.  You’ve probably seen stand-up comedians do this toward the end of their schtick.
  • Be Self-Denigrating – Share embarrassing moments. Apparently people love to hear others put themselves down because they themselves like to feel superior.
  • DO NOT – joke about religion or race or politics. And don’t ever say anything denigrating about someone when it’s something that they cannot help.
A screen shot from our Skype interview.  YES, I was laughing the whole time! (And yes, thats a lot of teeth between the two of us! ?)

Thank you, Hillary!

Click here for the Podcast
or here for a PDF of the ShowNotes & Transcript


I hope this week’s podcast makes you laugh!


And I hope you learn something too! 

Speaking of LEARNING – I have a formula for you to memorize that I promise will help you become a more effective and confident communicator.  Here it is: “The ABCDE’s of Table Talk”:

Have you tried the ABCDE’s?  If yes, I would love to hear how it went. Please email me or share your experiences the Talk About Talk social media pages.

That’s it.  This week, I urge you to take time to laugh, and try to make someone else laugh!!

As always, I encourage you to forward this email or send this link to your friends and colleagues who may also be interested in learning about how to become more confident communicators.


TALK soon,

Dr. Andrea Wojnicki
Founder & Chief Talker – Talk About Talk Inc.


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